Close confidant ditches Terrorist Madni

published on March 13, 2011

Resignation of Madani relative worsens PDP crisis
VR Jayaraj | Thiruvananthapuram

The crisis in the PDP of Kerala Islamist Abdul Nasser Madani, currently lodged in a Bangalore prison as an accused in the 2008 bombings case, has worsened with the resignation of Poonthura Siraj, former working chairman of the party and Madani’s close relative. Siraj announced the other day that he was resigning from all PDP posts and even membership for personal reasons.

The announcement of resignation by Siraj, known till recently as Madani’s second-in-command, came just four days after the PDP supremo asked him to be active once again in party affairs. Siraj said his “personal situation” did not allow him to act as per Madani’s instructions. The PDP is planning to contest in 40 of the total 140 Assembly seats in the April 13 polls, all alone.

Madani, chairman, asked Siraj on Tuesday to take up important assignments in the PDP when other top leaders visited him in the prison to discuss the strategy to be adopted for the polls. Siraj was sacked as working chairman by Madani himself on November 9 last due to complaints from office-bearers after he wanted the PDP to cooperate with arch rival Muslim League.

Sources in the PDP say that the resignation of Siraj, who had known – “perhaps even better than Madani himself” – the PDP thoroughly, would worsen the crisis it is in ever since the arrest of the Islamist leader by the Karnataka Police on August 17 from his headquarters Anvarssery in Kollam for his role in the Bangalore bombings.

The PDP’s crisis had worsened steadily since the LDF’s humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha polls of 2009 when the CPI()M) despite all warnings given by the front partners kept a strong alliance with it. The CPI(M) distanced itself from Madani – almost totally – after his arrest on August 17 last year.

The crisis escalated for the PDP during the civic polls of last October when it was forced to go it all alone with the CPI(M) remaining reluctant to have any ties with it. Though the PDP tried to prove its might by fielding candidates in hundreds of wards, it cut a sorry figure by failing to make any impact.

This was followed by the intra-party troubles after Poonthura Siraj, who had kept the party alive for about nine years when Madani was in prison in connection with the Coimbatore serial blasts, was sacked for advocating cooperation with the Muslim League. “Our leaders are trying to find some ally in the Assembly polls but they have not succeeded in it so far,” said a PDP functionary.

A PDP insider said that the resignation of Siraj, husband of sister of Madani’s wife Sufiya, was sure to affect the party as well as the family of its chairman. “Siraj is not just a party man but he is a powerful member of the Madani family. If he says that he cannot obey the orders of Madani for personal reasons, it has some serious meanings,” he said.

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